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The "O Antiphons" of Advent*

The exact origin of the O Antiphons is unknown. Boethius (480-524) referred to them, which suggests that they were around in the sixth century. By the eighth century, the O Antiphons were being sung in the Roman Catholic Church, specifically at the Benedictine Abbey in Fleury. They are the antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer from December 17 through December 23.

The O Antiphons are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messainic hopes of the Hebrew Scriptures to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of those Scriptures' hopes, but also of present hopes. Their repeated use of the imperative "Come" embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah.

Interestingly, the first letters of the titles taken backwards appear to form a Latin acrostic, Ero Cras (Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia), which can be translatesd as "Tommorow, I will be there (I will come)"; although different O Antiphons may be found at different places.

O Antiphons

December 17, O Sapientia

O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love:
Come to teach us the path of knowledge!

December 18, O Adonai

O Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
Come to rescue us with your mighty power!

December 19, O Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse's stem, sign of God's love for all his people:
Come to save us without delay!

December 20, O Clavis David

O Key of David, opening the gates of God's eternal Kingdom:
Come and free the prisoners of darkness!

December 21, O Oriens

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
Come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death!

December 22, O Rex Gentium

O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
Come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

December 23, O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel (with us is God), our King and Giver of Law:
Come to save us, Lord our God!

Click here to read more about the O Antiphons of Advent ...

*Edited from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' website and other websites.

Lent — A Time to Prepare
Voice of the Faithful offers Lent reflections for 2020

Lent is a season of preparation, introspection, and reflection. This Lent, Voice of the Faithful is offering the following links to reflections and readings to help you observe the season. Some of the links lead to online reflections, and others lead to places where you may purchase booklets or pamphlets to help lead you during your forty-day journey toward Easter and Jesus’s Resurrection.

If you have a favorite resource for Lenten reflections, let us know at, and we will review it for our list.

Click here to see Voice of the Faitfhul's list of Lenten reflection links ...

Reflections for the Season
Voice of the Faithful 2019 Advent: Three Paths to the Stable

Click here or on the image below to go to a calendar of links for each day of Advent 2019. For each day you will be able to choose among three Paths to the Stable. When you click a photo in the calendar, you will go to a page for that day in Advent that contains reflections written by VOTF members, crèche scenes submitted by VOTF members, and links to Scripture readings for that day during Advent.

Voice of the Faithful Offers Lent Reflections for 2018

Lent is a season of introspection and reflection, and Voice of the Faithful offers a reflection each Sunday during Lent, along with links to the Liturgical Readings for each day of the week. Use these reflections and readings to think deeply about what God has done in Jesus.

The link below will take you to the reflection for the First Sunday in Lent 2018, and from there you will be able to navigate to the remaining reflections for each Sunday during Lent 2018:

Reflections on Liturgical Readings

Reading: Malachi 3:19-20a

19For the day is coming, blazing like an oven,
when all the arrogant and all evil doers will be stubble,
And the day that is coming will set them on fire,
leaving them neither root nor branch,
says the Lord of hosts.

20aBut for you who fear my name, the sun of justice
will arise with healing in its wings ...


Let us look for the healing rays we receive and those we can give to others with God's help.

Gaile M. Pohlhaus, Ph.D.
Practical theologian and former VOTF officer

Reading: Second Thessalonians 2:16-3:5

Brother and Sisters:

16May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement
and good hope throught his grace,

17encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good
deed and word.

3:1Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us
so that the word of the Lord may spped forward
and be glorified, as it did among you,

2and that we may be delivered from perverse
and wicked people, for not all have faith.

3But the Lord is Faithful; he will strengthen you
and guard you from the evil one.

4We are confident of you in the Lord that what
we instruct you, you are doing and will continue to do.

5May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God
and to the endurance of Christ.


Let us grow more and more grateful for the grace we have received from God. And please continue to pray for me so that I can continue to write these reflections.

Gile M. Pohlhaus, Ph.D.
Practical theologian and former VOTF officer

Reading: Second Thessalonians 1:11-12

11... we always pray for you, that our God may make
you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment
every good purpose and every effort of faith,

12that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified
in you, and you in him, in accord with the grace
of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.


While it is true that I always pray for you, I hope that it is equally true that all who read this reflection also pray for all of us as we all are working with God's grace to bring fulfillment to every good purpose.

Gaile M. Pohlhaus, Ph.D.
Practical theologian and former VOTF officer

Reading: Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18

The LORD is a God of justice,
who knows no favorites.
Though not unduly partial toward the weak,
yet he hears the cry of the oppressed.
The Lord is not deaf to the wail of the orphan,
nor to the widow when she pours out her complaint.
The one who serves God willingly is heard;
his petition reaches the heavens.
The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds;
it does not rest till it reaches its goal,
nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds,
judges justly and affirms the right,
and the Lord will not delay.


The prophet reminds us that God hears our crying out but that God's response is a just judgement which affirms the right without delay.

Gaile Pohlhaus, Ph.D.
Practical theologian and former VOTF officer

Reading: Second Timothy 2:11:13

11This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;

12if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.

13If we are unfaithful
he remains faithful
for he cannot deny himself.


The epistles to Timothy are known as the pastoral epistles; they are not to a church, but rather are understood as teaching Timothy how to be a good pastor. This particular teaching reminds Timothy and us that we are to be faithful as Christ is faithful.

I have not been faithful in keeping up with these reflections. I beg your prayers so that I may become faithful again.

Gaile M. Pohlhaus, Ph.D.
Practical Theologian and former VOTF officer

Reading: Colossians 2:12-14

Brothers and Sisters:
Your were buried with him in baptism,
in which you were also raised with him
through faith in the power of God,
who raised him from the dead.
And even when you were dead
in transgressions and the uncircumcision
of your flesh, he brought you to life along
with him, having gorgiven us all our
transgressions; obliterating the bond
against us, with its legal claims, which
was opposed to us, he also removed it
from our midst, nailing it to the cross.


The readings today are about forgiveness -- God's forgivenexx of us, and our forgiveness of others. It is hard to forgive sometimes, but when we reflect on all God has forgiven us, our own shame impels us to forgive others.


Gaile M. Pohlhaus, PhD.
Practical Theologian and former VOTF officer

Reading: Colossians 1:24-26

Brothers and Sisters:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up
what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ
on behalf of his body, which is the church,
of which I am a minister
in accordance with God's stewardship given to me
to bring to completion for you the word of God,
the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.


There have been many sufferings this past week, especially for all of those involved in the Trayvon Martin case. Through our Baptism, we are all ministers who should work to bring completion through the mystery of God.


Gaile M. Pohlhaus, PhD.
Practical Theologian and former VOTF officer

Reading: Col 1:19-20

For in [Christ Jesus] all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile all things for him,
making peace by the blood of his cross
through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.


"All the fullness" must refer to the triune God for what other fullness is there?


Gaile M. Pohlhaus, Ph.D.
Practical Theologian and former VOTF officer

Reading: Gal 6:14-18

Brothers and sisters:
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision,
but only a new creation.

Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule
and to the Israel of God.

From now on, let no one make troubles for me;
for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,
brothers and sisters. Amen.


Only a new creation means anything and as we move towards it we will receive peace and mercy.


Gaile M. Pohlhaus, PhD.
Practical Theologian and former VOTF officer

Reading: Gal 5:1, 13-18

Brothers and sisters:

For freedom Christ set us free;
so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.
But do not use this freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement,
namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
But if you go on biting and devouring one another,
beware that you are not consumed by one another.

I say, then: live by the Spirit
and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
these are opposed to each other,
so that you may not do what you want.
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.


This is a tricky teaching to get one's mind around. It is the law which entangles us. When we truly love our neighbor as ourselves we are free. We will choose to do that which helps our neighbors for love of them not to strike back at them.


Gaile M. Pohlhaus, PhD.
Practical Theologian and former VOTF officer

Reading: Gal 3:26-29

Brothers and sisters:
Through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus.
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed
yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male
or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you
belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendant,
heirs according to the promise.


I was torn between the reading from Galatians and the Responsorial Psalm today. It was the emphasis on Baptism that finally decided me; the emphasis that we all are one combined with Pope Francis' statement that salvation is for the good.


Gaile M. Pohlhaus, PhD
Practical Theologian and former VOTF officer